Euphemisms For “Illegal Immigrants”
Why Does the Liberal Media Use Euphemisms For “Illegal Immigrants”?
Several years ago, the term “undocumented immigrants” gained currency among the Left and their friends in the media (who routinely follow their lead) as a substitution for saying “illegal”.
On one hand, it’s a silly expression. It’s as if the “document” was lost or left at home. Maybe the driver who misplaced his license is supposed to tell the police officer who stops him for speeding that, alas, at the moment, he’s “undocumented”.
But from a more serious perspective, the expression is no joking matter. Consider the distinction we draw between two words: legal and illegal. They are diametrically opposed. But “documented” vs. “undocumented”? The terms are bureaucratic and emotionally vague. Who cares?
Is that the point? Certainly that’s a consequence of the term “undocumented immigrant”? The focus is on the world “immigrant” not that person’s status. Historically, to be an immigrant is a positive. As the cliché goes, America is a land of immigrants.
But if a person is termed an “illegal immigrant” the focus shifts to the adjective. And “illegal” is not a positive.
Thus, the implicit message (whether or not intended) of labeling immigrants as “undocumented” is that the distinction from “documented” is not important. They – immigrants - with or without papers are all the same, and all have a right to be here.
What’s next, calls for open borders?
Postscript: I’ll agree that some of those employing the term are simply adopting the Left’s preference from sparing the feelings of those who have done wrong – violating the nation’s immigration laws, for instance. Why, after all, should people be made to feel responsible for their own conduct? Aren’t a person’s misdeeds always someone else’s fault such as society’s or the capitalist economic system?